It had been a warm spring day and my brother and I had covered a lot of country earlier in the morning. As the early afternoon sun warmed and lulled our senses, we were snapped back to reality by the angry buzzing of a rattlesnake mere feet away.
The hiking trip took a sudden turn and in the next 10 minutes we would be warned by three rattlesnakes leaving us with an unsettling feeling and a sudden desire to be rid of that certain canyon. Upon our return to civilization from this trip, I paid a visit to the nearest sporting goods store and purchased a pair of snake gaiters. Of course I’d always been aware of the danger lurking in the weeds of our wild places, but there is something about the angry rattle of a snake to bring that awareness to a point of action, and in this case, purchasing protection against said dangers.
The internet has been a world altering invention. I know this statement comes twenty-five years late and is akin to declaring that oxygen has been a boon to the human race, but sometimes it just bears repeating how wonderful the internet is. However, that said, let us never forget that amid the wonders of 24 hour access to pretty much whatever our heart desires, are some dark and unimaginable dangers. It turns out that the heart can desire some pretty vile stuff, and the internet harbors the kind of danger that ruins lives, kills friendships, steals souls, and lays to waste otherwise great minds.
With all the dangers abounding on the web, it only makes sense to protect ourselves and those we love from those things that could, and will cause undue harm. We take measures of prevention for all kinds of dangers and risks, so it seems responsible to take steps of prevention when it comes to the dangers lurking inside our phones and computers. This is why we visit the doctor for routine exams, prevention is often the best medicine. But, there are a lot of ways to protect against dangers, and like routine medical exams, the protection isn’t entirely built around the premise of prevention, but mitigating the chances of exposure to danger. In the case of my hiking trip with my brother, protection was a simple matter of buying protective equipment, not unlike helmets used in baseball and football. Other times, protection can be as simple as knowledge such as in the case of knowing that smoking causes lung cancer. But, when it comes to the dangers of the internet, how do we know what protective measures to take?
The internet, because of its many uses, is impossible to filter. When we try and filter the web against unwanted content, we find that the filters block some content that is perfectly okay while simultaneously failing to catch content that is the very danger we are trying to gain protection from. Conversely, accountability software like ours here at Ever Accountable, is designed to allow the user full control over the internet, but with the understanding that they will be held accountable for their browsing habits via emails to a third party with reports of the user’s entire browsing history. It is sort of like handing someone the keys to a Corvette with the understanding that the car will be inspected by an expert mechanic upon return. Sure there are a lot of things we’d like to do with the Corvette, but many of them are not safe for us, nor are they good for the car.
We don’t think twice about protecting ourselves from physical and financial harm, but it seems that too often we don’t give enough thought to protecting ourselves and our loved ones from emotional, psychological, moral, and relational harm, the type that thrives on the internet. You’re here because you’ve been made aware that dangers exist on the web, don’t be lured into thinking you can overcome those dangers on willpower alone. A rattlesnake doesn’t much care how bad you don’t want to be bit.